Friday, August 5, 2016

The Good, The Bad and the Really, Really Ugly....

Today's my birthday and I'm spending the day goofing off with Collin--so today's post will be a re-posting of my latest post from my author blog....

I’m always amused when, upon hearing I’m an author, a new acquaintance responds with, “I might write a book myself.” As if it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. It’s not. Traditionally published authors have to put up with getting small percentages of royalties (if you even get that far), having to write at night while working at a full-time day job (I didn’t, but I lucked out–I had a really good agent), delivering a manuscript only to be told it will need extensive revisions and/or rewrites and holding your breath while you wait to see how good or bad the reviews and sale turn out to be. Self-published authors deal with a lot of criticism, not being taken seriously most of the time, and trying to write while also marketing their own work. No fun.

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In short, your ego can take a major beatdown, no matter which way you go.

I much prefer the new breed of publisher, like Creativia, my current publisher. I have full control over what I write…though what I’m “writing” for them at the moment is reissues of my backlist books, which means reformatting text lifted from the pages of the published books. I’m too lazy and too slow on the keyboard to retype them, and don’t have backups of the originals that are compatible with current technology. I’ve had mixed feelings about even bothering to republish the old books. They were originally published back in the ’80s and ’90s, and trends were quite different then. The five books originally published by Berkley–Dance of the Gods, Angels at Midnight, A Time for Legends, Solitaire and Luck of the Draw–were written and published at a time when the big, glitzy romance novel was king. Now, that’s not so popular. My nine series romances are a big question mark. Is that genre still selling?

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I don’t expect to have a second run at the bestseller lists with any of them. I’m content to have them reissued and maybe make modest sales while putting my chips, so to speak, on the newer works. Chasing the Wind (2008) and Final Hours (2009) are not exactly new, but definitely more recent. The latter was a gamble; I knew that when I wrote it. A male protagonist who’s an adulterer isn’t a hero by any stretch. Chasing the Wind, however, is the basis for what I hope will be a series. Time will tell. These days, it takes me much longer to write a book than it used to. Sometimes, I think my mind wandered and got lost!

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The worst part, I think, is working on a book for months or years and, nearing completion, discovering you got it all wrong and having to start over. This is what happened with Sam’s Story. It was a difficult book to write, because while Sam has been gone for over five years now, it’s painful for me to even think about him without tearing up. He was with us for almost all of his twenty-one years.

The first draft was too short. The second, I discovered, was too much of a downer. I wanted the story to be fun and uplifting. So a few days ago, I started over. I took a different approach and it seems to be working. The story is coming easily, flowing smoothly. For how long, I wonder?

Sams Story

Recently, I saw the cover for a foreign edition of Luck of the Draw on the internet. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t even know it had any foreign sales! I don’t remember signing a contract for it. I’ll have to check with my agent. I probably signed the contract and just forgot about it. That sort of thing happens more often than I care to admit. It wasn’t exactly my agent’s favorite of my books. If Berkley hadn’t given me a contract for an untitled, unknown fifth novel, I doubt my agent would ever have sent it to them. I’m surprised she sent it out to any foreign publishers. It’s more of an historical suspense novel than a glitzy romance.

I also discovered a review of Dance of the Gods that had been posted a few years ago. When a review starts with “I consider myself a connoiseur of bad romance novels…” you can be sure it’s not good news. But I wish I could find the link again. It was actually pretty funny. Like most established authors, I’ve learned to not take bad reviews personally. Nobody can please everyone all the time, and bad reviews are a fact of the author’s life. You deal with it and move on, if you want a career in this nutty business.

Some of us used to compare bad reviews to see who got the worst. And we cried all the way to the bank, as the saying goes.

11 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the post from your author blog. Happy Birthday, Norma!

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  2. A very Happy Birthday to you, Norma!

    And re-issues can end up being a lot of work in and of themselves.

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  3. William: They're a real PITA. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth the trouble.

    Lorelei: Thank you!

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  4. A belated happy birthday to you! I hope it was wonderful!

    As for your resissued books: I compare them to going to the library (in times past) and going through the shelves to find old books I had never read. There will always be someone interested enough to check them out.

    And yes, writing is hard! What I hate more than someone saying, "I think I'll write a book someday!" is someone saying, "My life would make a great book! Why don't you write it and we'll go halves?"

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    1. I've been there, too. A few years ago, I had someone tell me they wanted to introduce me to a guy so I could write his story. Like I didn't have anything going on that couldn't be put aside to write this guy's book. And there was another one--the brother of a longtime friend. He had a book idea and announced that I could write it for him and have a percentage of his profits. Again, I was supposed to drop everything to do this. It took a while to get rid of that one. When I finally told him I would critique his story for cash upfront, I never heard from him again.

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  5. Replies
    1. It was actually pretty good. They only way it could have been better would have been if I could shake this annoying cough!

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